Friday, July 13, 2007

A reprieve for webcasters!

Posted last night:

At today's Congressional hearing about the new rates for online radio that would essentially destroy it (as readers of this blog already know), SoundExchange, which was scheduled to receive the new royalty payments on Monday morning (since the enforcement date falls on a Sunday), made a startling statement.

More importantly:
[Tim Westergren, founder of Pandora] said everyone who called their Congress person about this should feel that they had an effect on the process: "This is a direct result of lobbying pressure, so if anyone thinks their call didn't matter, it did. That's why this is happening."

Now we will see what happens. Apparently the Copyright Royalty Board has been cut out of the loop by their own inane behavior. This, in my opinion, is a good thing.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The XPoNential Music Festival

Aren't those folks over at XPN witty? XPoNential. Get it? Yuk yuk.

Regardless of how corney the name is, though, the festival coming up next weekend looks good. I'm going for two days of it, along with my blushing bride and several friends. I'm expecting it to be pretty awesome.

For one thing, I'm looking forward to just camping out in one spot and seeing a parade of excellent musicians, ranging from little known local artists to a few bigger names. Check out the program here. Better hurry and get your tickets - I think tomorrow is the last day.

mjrc put up some tunes by the smaller acts, so I'll do likewise but with some of the better known artists. Hope to see you there!

The Smithereens - A Girl Like You (buy)
The Smithereens - I Saw Her Standing There (buy)
I'm hoping they'll do some Beatles covers from their most recent album, which I thought was a lot of fun. Also, an oldie but a goodie.

Fountains of Wayne - '92 Subaru (buy)
Fountains of Wayne - Bright Future in Sales (buy)
Although I didn't think their most recent album lived up to expectations, it's still excellent pop. Check out this hilarious article from NPR while yer at it.

Suzanne Vega - Blood Makes Noise (buy)
Suzanne Vega - 99.5 F (buy)
Her new CD isn't even out and I'm pumped. It's XPN's featured album of the week next week, and the review is tantalizing. You can't buy it yet, but you can preorder and get it in time to give it a good listen before the weekend.

Oh, yeah. Marc Broussard is also going to be there:
Marc Broussard - Home (buy)
This line up couldn't be a whole lot better! I hope I don't embarrass myself. Seems likely, though.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

For the man who has everything

Do you find yourself trapped in cubeland, occasionally flicking things at your coworkers? If so, perhaps a desktop-sized medieval siege engine would be just the ticket to disrupt your boring day.

Kaden at Eccentric Genius makes this 1/20th scale hanging counter-weight trebuchet. Fire a grape at that chatty neighbor. Or maybe a small, jiggly cube of your favorite gelatinous meat product.

He also makes a working guillotine. Damn, brother.

For more info on trebuchets and their use during medieval times, check out the NOVA Secrets of Lost Empires website on Medieval Siege here.

Last, but most importantly, let us pay homage to that great work of cinema that was the inspiration behind these interesting toys: The Holy Grail.

(Thanks to David from Boing Boing!)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

How can you not want to see this movie?

Image from

From the Post's Desson Thomson:

Staunton's brilliant comedic performance -- a frosty mixture of arch sanctimoniousness and Maggie Thatcher steel -- brings to life one of Rowling's greater creations. And the actress had this reviewer remembering Umbrages from his own boarding school days. (Ms. B, the mathematics teacher, who handed out detentions with that soft, silky voice -- a sort of velvet gloved executioner! And Ms. M., the French teacher, who liked to display her leathery hand to classes as a permanent warning to pay attention!)

Staunton is just one in a collective embarrassment of riches among the predominantly British cast -- a who's who of stage and screen that also includes a silkily funereal Alan Rickman, as Severus Snape, who makes contempt seem like a fashion statement, a wonderfully sensitive Gary Oldman, as Harry's protective godfather, Sirius Black; and an effectively eccentric Emma Thompson as Sybil Trelawney, the school's resident goofball teacher.

Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman have stolen the show(s) by a mile so far, so this should be very entertaining indeed.

Read the full review here.

You can watch the trailer on the Post's site, or check out the YouTube rip below:

And, as if that weren't enough, go ahead and pre-order the final book, and see if Harry makes it through or not. Go on, you know you want to.

The Cars - Magic (buy)

1967 in Contrast

I had planned to start this post by saying that 1967 was a pretty good year, IF you put the Vietnam War aside for a minute. Then I realized how much the Vietnam War dominated 1967. Therefore, let me say that my in-laws, in what was clearly an optomistic hedge against the unpleasantness of 1967, gave birth to lovely wife (MHB).

In typical Contrast fashion, this week's Contrast Podcast isn't full of Vietnam-related material, but it looks quite good. You can check it out here, or listen to it directly here if you like. Whatever the case, leave a comment for Tim and company - he puts quite a bit of effort into these excellent podcasts!

This week's contributions are:

(00:29) Jefferson Airplane - Somebody to love
Ross from Just gimme indie rock
(03:33) Erma Franklin - Piece of my heart
Michael from The Yank Sizzler
(07:00) Dusty Springfield - The look of love
Linda from Speed of Dark
(11:18) The Turtles - Happy together
Natalie from Mini-Obs
(14:51) The Impressions - We’re a winner
Ally from dustysevens
(17:12) Kaleidoscope - Dive into yesterday
ZB from So the wind won’t blow it all away
(22:43) Louie Prima - I wanna be like you
Crash from Pretending life is like a song
(27:34) The Stooges - Search and Destroy
FiL from Pogoagogo
(34:03) Green Day - 86
Andy from Circles of Concrete
(37:13) Dave Brubeck Quartet - Take 5
Marcy from Lost in your inbox
(43:07) John Coltrane - Everytime we say goodbye
Alex from Totally True Tales from Texas
(48:39) R.E.M. - Femme fatale
Kristi from Are you embarassed easily?
(51:47) The House of Love - The Beatles and The Stones
Tom from Better in the Dark
(56:20) Prince - Alphabet street
Greg from Broken Dial
(59:06) The Adult Net - Incense and Peppermints
SAS Radio
(01:02:15) Chris Coco with Nick Cave - Sunday Morning
Matthew from Song by Toad
The contribution from Are You Embarrassed Easily for this week comes not from me, your faithful host WankelRotaryEngine, but my darling bride, in honor of her birth year.

Being a huge REM fan, she chose REM's remake of the classic Velvet Underground tune, Femme Fatale, off their debut album, The Velvet Underground and Nico. The REM cover is from their 1987 Dead Letter Office. As she says in her intro, she loves the sound of Stipe's voice here, which is front and center with a spare backing from the rest of the band. Classic folk rock, IMHO.

Speaking of REM, I just recently heard an REM tune I missed back in the day, Get Up, off their Green album. By the time Stand fell out of heavy rotation, though, I couldn't stand it and thus never got around to Get Up. It's a good thing music doesn't expire, unlike DRM licenses...

Anyway, here is MHB's pick for this weeks 1967-themed Contrast Podcast, along with a few of my favorite tunes from REM. Hope you enjoy.


Femme Fatale (buy)
Get Up (buy)
Crush with Eyeliner (buy)
Try Not to Breathe (buy)
Bang and Blame (buy)
Man on the Moon (buy)

and, of course,

It's the End of the World as We Know It
(Carp - we don't have this one! We'll have to (buy) it.)